Last Chance BQ.2 Grand Rapids Marathon Recap

date September 08, 2019 location Grand Rapids, MI

Following last November's Richmond Marathon, I planned on running the Green Bay marathon in the Spring. My knees had different plans. I spent December and January trying to get some mileage in, but I couldn't get past a few miles on any given day before my left knee would flare up. Before accepting that perhaps my marathoning days were over, I went through an 8 week physical therapy cycle, and eventually started building my mileage back up slowly and without pain. By April, I was running more miles than I ever had before and I was ready to start a marathon training plan, I just needed to find a new race. After some research, I settled on the Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon in Grand Rapids, MI. The race day was the week before Boston Marathon registration, giving runners a "Last Chance" to improve their chances of getting in. With my 3:01:10 in Richmond, I was a full 3:50 faster than the 3:05:00 required to qualify for Boston in my age group, however, the Boston Athletic Association applies an additional cutoff after all applicants have applied depending on the demand for that particular year, making it possible (though very unlikely) that I could be left without an actual spot in the race. Knowing this, the timing of the Last Chance BQ.2 would give me an opportunity to lock my spot in Boston, and still enough time to recover after the race and start training for the Boston Marathon itself in April 2020.

I followed Pete Pfitzinger's 18/70 training plan, and outside of a 3 day backpacking trip to Yosemite, I stayed true to the plan.

The Race
The race itself had a small field of about 300 runners. Furthermore, since everyone was trying to get into Boston, there was a sense of teamwork that you don't typically get at most races with people forming packs based on the time they need to qualify for Boston. The course consists of 6 loops around Grand Rapids' Millenium Park which meant I would see my cheering section 5 times (they headed for the finished line on the last lap). I had a goal in mind of 2 hours and 55 minutes, but my tune up races indicated I had a shot at 2:53. I planned on trying to stay between a 6:30 and 6:40 per mile pace and ended up on the faster side of that almost the whole day for a final time of 2:51:12 (6:32/mile)!

Race Notes
-The race let all runners keep water bottles at the aid stations. I filled one with water and the other with sports drink. On the first pass by, I dropped the water bottle. The second pass I struggled to get much from the bottle. I settled on the standard water cups for the remainder of the race. Never Again.
-Stomach cramps slowed me down late in the race. This could be from a number of different causes, but I’m wondering if I overdid the pre-race and actual race nutrition.
-This was the first full marathon I'vee run in a long time without a pace group and my pacing was excellent.
-More vaseline on the nipples!
-Running several tune up races throughout the training cycle really helped get me ready for race day.

Post race shot with me and my biggest fan.